Friday, January 17, 2003


A rather studio-bound film about Allied pilots trapped behind enemy lines, being helped out by members of the French Resistance. Paul Henreid, a Frenchman, has the most to lose if he is captured. Alan Ladd, the youngest of the bunch, is seriously injured. Ladd and the others manage to hide in the sewers of Paris while Henreid roams the streets in disguise, rounding up Resistance help. The casting of some of the supporting parts is interesting: Thomas Mitchell is especially good as a sympathetic priest who proves to be a great help. Laird Cregar is even better as an effete Nazi official who winds up engaging Henreid in a drawn-out cat-and-mouse game. May Robson, in her last movie role, is fine as an aged schoolteacher who turns out to be a very effective Resistance fighter. Michele Morgan, in one of her few American films, is OK but not much better as the title character, a waifish waitress who prays to Joan of Arc for guidance and is thust somewhat unwillingly into the spy game by Henreid. She falls for him when he hides in her apartment and winds up being the key to the escape of the Allies. A scene with Robson's schoolchildren singing the French national anthem during some Nazi mayhem is a bit over the top--the similar scene in CASABLANCA comes off much better because is has more style, more suspense, and is better written. Overall, not bad but with more than its share of slow spots, and Henreid and Morgan make only middling heroes.

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